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In Kids & Family

The Parent Posse weighs in on parenting issues every month.

Parent Posse: Advice for new parents

When a person becomes a parent for the first time, they receive a lot of advice, both solicited and unsolicited.

This month, asks the Parent Posse to give some sage advice to new parents. Hopefully it's less annoying than your mother-in-law's two cents' worth.

What I'd tell a new parent is that you can't please everyone. Someone is always going to find fault with choices you make regarding your children. So often a parent does what they feel is instictively right, only to find themselves criticized, many times because it is something that goes against societal norms.

Examples I see all the time are co-sleeping, extended or exclusive breastfeeding or not vacccinating. I'm not saying that looking at different points of view doesn't have validity, but parents should try to remain objective about it.

Along that same line of thinking, I think new parents should be encouraged to trust their instincts and try to not take it personally when people disagree with them. It's incredibly hard not to take it personally when someone doesn't like a choice you've made, but just remember your job is to raise your child in the manner you determine is best for them.
Kathleen Kolodzinski

My one piece of sage advice is to make sure you take time for your marriage relationship and yourself! Next to God, your marriage needs to be the most important thing in your life. True, your kids can be a darn close third, but they are a temporary assignment. You will give them to someone else (most likely) when they get married, but you as a couple will (hopefully) still be together. You cannot be a happy strong family if the marriage is rocky, which does not help the precious new life you brought in. You, yourself also have to be healthy, both physically and mentally, or the other things won't work.
Rick Stieghorst

Don't worry so much about what other parents think of your parenting and don't concern yourself with the way others choose to parent. Remember, we're all in this parenting thing together with the best intentions.
Stephanie Bennett
South Side

Most of the time, it's about you and / or your relationships and not the child. Be candid with your spouse / partner and understand what you value before you begin making parenting decisions.
Robin Mindt
West Allis

Try not to set to many expectations. You don't want to feel like you did something wrong if things don't go as planned. Go with the flow and learn from your child, which I know is easier said than done. If you use books to help guide you, that's OK, but if your child isn't doing what ever they're "supposed" to be doing by three months, they may do it at four months and that's perfectly fine.
Gigi Gamboa
Jackson Park


carriejp | Aug. 11, 2008 at 11:34 a.m. (report)

With a brand new newborn, your number one goal next to feed the baby is to get that baby on a sleeping schedule. It may take 6-8 mos., but that's what you're trying to do to get some normalcy back into your life. The first 3 mos. may seem extremely long, but you WILL get through it. Then you start to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

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moxy99 | Aug. 11, 2008 at 9:12 a.m. (report)

This is a short term fix -- but for the first three months, Dr. Harvey Karp's "The Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD will preserve your sanity, which will then lead to a happy marriage, childhood for your kid, etc. I just sent this to my cousin who has a 2-week-old and received this text on Saturday morning: "God bless you and that dvd. We tried som of it last night and what a lifesaver!

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